Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/60

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Alf Laylah wa Laylah

with the sun, in fear lest the Rejectors[1] should take the city and throw the books of religious learning into the Tigris." But Ala al Din replied to him, "O my father, I came not forth from home with this merchandise, or travelled hither for the sake of traffic, but to divert myself with the sight of foreign lands and folks;" and he rejoined, "O my son, we fear for thee and for thy goods from the wild Arabs." Whereupon the youth answered "Harkye, fellow, art thou master or man? I will not enter Baghdad till the morning, that the sons of the city may see my merchandise and know me." "Do as thou wilt," said the other "I have given thee the wisest advice, but thou art the best judge of thine own case." Then Ala al-Din bade them unload the mule; and pitch the tent; so they did his bidding and abode there till the middle of the night, when he went out to obey a call of nature and suddenly saw something gleaming afar off. So he said to Kamal-al-Din, "O captain, what is yonder glittering?" The Cameleer sat up and, considering it straitly, knew it for the glint of spear heads and the steel of Badawi weapons and swords. And lo and behold! this was a troop of wild Arabs under a chief called Ajlán Abú Náib, Shaykh of the Arabs, and when they neared the camp and saw the bales and baggage, they said one to another, "O night of loot!" Now when Kamal-al-Din heard these their words he cried, "Avaunt, O vilest of Arabs!" But Abu Naib so smote him with his throw spear in the breast, that the point came out gleaming from his back, and he fell down dead at the tent door. Then cried the water carrier,[2]

  1. Arab. "Ráfizí"=the Shi'ah (tribe, sect) or Persian schismatics who curse the first three Caliphs: the name is taken from their own saying "Inná rafizná-hum"=verily we have rejected them. The feeling between Sunni (the so-called orthodox) and Shi'ah is much like the Christian love between a Catholic of Cork and a Protestant from the Black North. As Al-Siyuti or any historian will show, this sect became exceedingly powerful under the later Abbaside Caliphs, many of whom conformed to it and adopted its tractices and innovations (as in the Azan or prayer-call), greatly to the scandal-of their co-religionists. Even in the present day the hatred between these representatives of Arab monotheism and Persian Guebrism continues unabated. I have given sundry instances m my Pilgrimage, e.g. how the Persians attempt to pollute the tombs of the Caliphs they abhor.
  2. Arab. "Sakká," the Indian "Bihishtí" (man from Heaven): Each party in a caravan has one or more.